A Warrior Woman embraces the whole of who she is. She reclaims the right to live in and love her body. She knows pleasure and passion and seeks healing from the wounds of the past.
I was swept up by this image of a woman in a moment of connection and comfort with her self. It's rare to see a Victorian age photo like this as most erotic photos are clearly staged for the male gaze and were sold as "naughty" postcards.
You know the story- patriarchy and colonialism have always sought to control women's sexuality and bodies. These systems set out to define how women should dress, work, love, play, speak and behave. And those who step outside the rules are punished. In the historical past that might have meant being burned at the stake; today that can be the constant attention, critique, and shaming of how women dress and act. Today It can still mean imprisonment and death as we have witnessed in Iran. It means missing, murdered, and trafficked women and girls. It means criminalizing women's choices about their health and bodies. And yet, everyday women bravely decide to exist outside these patriarchal constructs of sexuality.
Working on this piece brought up a memory. I was 20 and it was 1969. I was arrested for minor drug charges in my apartment along with 2 male friends. In court, my two male friends were released while the judge insisted I would only be released to my parents. When I tried to question the judge, he angrily told me to accept this or he would add the charge of "lewd and lascivious cohabitation". Wow, I was so shocked. These were actual laws on the books in Boston. I was so angry that my friends got a pass and as a young woman I was held to a completely different standard.
To dive deeper into this story:
"Tools of the Patriarchy; the weaponization of sexual freedom".